#WDWS12 Back to the OC

As the travel portion of the 2012 Walk Down Wall Street travel course has reached its conclusion, a word from its instructor, Professor Ayca Altintig.

Group shot in front of the NASDAQThe WDWS 2012 Class is back from New York City!  It was a very exciting week overall!  We visited many great financial companies and institutions.  Students went on the actual trading floor of the NYSE and met designated market makers, met with board members and senior VPs of some of the biggest financial firms in the world.  They met some of our alumni that work on the street and got to share their experiences, and even went to watch a Merrill Lynch financial advisor play blues in downtown.  Most students gained valuable insight and invaluable contacts through this trip.

WDWS is about fun and the big city experience as it is about the financial knowledge.  Some reactions to NY are what I have come to expect after three years of travelling with Southern CA students to NYC: Streets are crowded; subways are dirty; everything is open after midnight; lights in Times Square are so bright; weather is so cold; city is so expensive.  Yet, every year each group has its own likes and dislikes.  Some highlights from this year: Chinatown with its crowded and colorful streets and bargaining for not-so-real merchandise; the chicken and rice cart next to the hotel – their spicy chicken is a running student favorite; Little Italy, NY Style sliced pizza, Madison Square garden and Penn Station

I think overall it was a very successful, educational and fun trip.  For me it was a great success: All 18 students safely back to SoCal – no hospitalizations, no hotel security knocking on doors!!! For a faculty guide that is the definition of success.

Now we are back in class, for one more week! 85 degree weather outside after the grueling 35 degrees of NY.  What? We have to study?  Yes, presentations and the final to go! Then interterm and WDWS 2012 will be officially over!

I cannot wait to read what is in the journals about the trip!

All parents, friends and followers of this class, please stay with us and keep on reading the adventures of future WDWS classes in NY.

To be continued in Winter 2013….



Day 5 of WDWS

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our entry for Friday, 1/20/2012 comes from Sumair Devani, Preston Oklejas, Derek Witte, and Tucker Johnson.

Ambassador ringing the opening bellThis morning’s adventure was quite exciting, and it was relatively warm in comparison to other days this week, with a temperature of about 37 degrees. This may seem cold to my fellow students that aren’t used to the East Coast weather, but if you want to enjoy a career out here, it is a small displeasure in exchange for the chance to live and work in the hub of the financial service industry. Our first event was quite exhilarating; the ambassador of China came to open the NASDAQ trading day, in celebration of the 1st day of the Chinese New Year.  The countdown was projected onto the big screen in Time Square, and as soon as the clock hit 9:30am, confetti exploded from their projectors. Even before the last piece of red confetti hit the ground, we were escorted out.

Our next meeting took place only an hour after the class left NASDAQ, and for me it was one of the most incredible meetings of the entire trip.  We met with Hedge fund manager and NYUs Stern Business School faculty Professor Jim Liew.  With him was his close friend Charles, who is an asset allocator.   Charles spoke so quickly and without breathing for so long it made me feel a bit winded!  I’m not entirely interested in hedge funds as a future career (it is a bit too quantitative for me to enjoy), yet anytime a hedge fund manager is willing to speak and share their insights with a group of young students, the knowledge and experience we can potentially gain is unquantifiable. I especially enjoyed picking both their brains for which sectors they found most undervalued, because I actively manage my own portfolio. I was quite happy to find that my own ideas positively correlated with theirs.

I have decided to read tonight to prepare for our upcoming final, and meet with a Financial Advisor from Merrill Lynch that I happen to know from my boss back in California for a bit of dinner and insight for my future career path.

– Preston

We started off the day with a visit to NASDAQ for their opening bell. Throughout the trip I was expecting this to be the most exciting visit.  However, I was a little disappointed to see how short the process was.  The opening bell was pushed that day in celebration of Chinese New Year, with representatives of a company from China that was listed in the NASDAQ. The next organized event was held in the hotel where we had speakers from NYU.  It was great to learn about hedge funds and their operations. It was also really nice of the presenter to provide some guidelines that would help us manage a hedge fund should the chance arise in the future. Later on I headed to Museum of Natural History for another great experience, followed by a walk down the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a beautiful site seeing experience. In the evening, I was even able to see an old friend of mine and hangout with him.

–  Sumair

Eating Rays Pizza for lunch! If we eat one more large pizza I’m going to explode, but when in Rome do as the Romans do!

Last night in NYC, meeting Riley Etheridge from Merrill Lynch in a little to hear some blues and talk about the Street. Can’t wait to go home but definitely going to live it up tonight! Hope we don’t get lost in the subway again….

– Derek

This morning I woke up and went to the NASDAQ. We weren’t there very long. It was a lot shorter and different then I had imagined. It was cool to see the opening bell and celebrate the Chinese New Year.

We then went back to the hotel and listened to to speakers. They were both very interesting and helpful. I learned a lot about hedge funds and the industry of finance and investing.

A couple hours later, I took the subway to Chinatown. It was filled with people and tons of places to shop. We spent the afternoon there and headed back to our hotel around 6.

We went to dinner at a burger and milkshake restaurant around 8 pm. It was packed and delicious. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack and go to sleep. All in all it was an amazing trip! I had a great time and learned a lot.

– Tucker

Day 4 of WDWS

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our entry for Thursday 1/19/2012 comes from Grace Song, Eva Wong, Eric Lambert, and Charles Clark.

Citigroup talked with us first this morning. Ms. Shelly Dropkin started off the presentation with a video overview of Citigroup, and then a PowerPoint presentation that described in more detail what was shown in the video. She finished by describing how best to get a job at Citi, and answered questions about recruiting. Next a Citigroup board member talked about both the history and current state of the industry beyond Citi.

At a presentationAlthough the day was busy, we still managed to fit in social activities. After the Bank of America presentation, we walked around the area, visiting both Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center. The ice rink was very pretty, but it was overpriced so we did not decide to go. At night after NYU, we returned to Little Italy for Rice to Riches, a rice pudding shop we had tried yesterday and found to be delicious. We finished the night with going to the musical Phantom of the Opera.
Around the tableBank of America had the most speakers, and each of them had their own charms. The first speaker made good points about always learning and being flexible in one’s career, themes which were carries forward with the other speakers after him. The second speaker was especially entertaining, telling his own story and supporting the points made by the first speaker. The third speaker showed us the diversity of their company, as she originally worked in law but later found her true passion. The next speaker had something to say about the customer-facing operations of Bank of America. The fifth speaker also was someone who showed diversity in their employees.  He described how Merrill Lynch allowed him to pursue his passion of music while also working on his banking career. Lastly, the senior economist talked about the state of the markets.
Chapman students at NYU SternOur visit to the Stern School of Business at NYU involved a lecture by Professor Charlie Murphy. He was a very engaging and passionate speaker, who also had his own brand of humor. He began the talk by speaking about recent developments in the financial world. He emphasized the importance of the interconnectivity of various fields to investment banking, such as the connection between the legal field and the medical field and their relationships with regulation and risks.

Grace, Eva, Eric & Charles.

Day 3 of WDWS

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our entry for Wednesday 1/18/2012 comes from Jai Cheema and Miriam Allred.

Alarm goes off at 8:00am. SNOOZE! Ten minutes later it goes off again, and this time we get up and get ready. Our first visit was to the New York Stock Exchange and in order to get there we had to take the subway.

We get there and waited for our tour guide in a room with a an animated glass wall that flashed different pictures of NYC to random stock prices to a random street in the city itself, pretty hi-tech to say the least. We headed upstairs to hear the first part of the tour from our guide and began a discussion about the NYSE, what it does today, and what it is responsible for when it comes to our country and economy. The cool stuff began when we actually went to the “Garage,” (one of the main trading floors). It was so different than what we would expect, because on TV we see people yelling and screaming and shouting and shoving for certain stock-buys and sells.  It actually was very easy to walk through, it wasn’t noisy, and in fact the traders even had time to speak with us. A trader from Getco told us when he started and how trading as evolved from when he started to what it is today. It was so interesting to hear the progression and regression of it all and how competitive his job was. We asked him what his most successful trading day was and he told us it was $1,000,000! We were completely awestruck to hear that someone made a million dollars in one day. With all that information in our heads we left and headed to the “Bull” and of course did the cliché pictures.

In front of the BullDuring our break we went with Professor Clas Wihlborg and Professor Ayca Altintig to the 9/11 memorial. It was a very beautiful dedication to the lives lost. The fountain was a huge black marble commemoration for the 3,000 that lost their lives. You could also see right next to it how they were already building the two new towers to take the place of the fallen towers. From there we jumped in cabs and headed straight to Chinatown for a meal with Ayca and a few others. We had some dim sum and random dishes at a sit down Chinese restaurant before our next tour. After we ate we headed straight to the Federal Reserve, and once again by cab.  When we got there, no pictures were allowed to be taken, and it was ironic to me because of all the visits I thought this one would provide the best photo opportunities. When we saw the gold vault it was truly a sight to see: 7,000 tons of gold just sitting there shining and belonging to central banks of other countries. The first tour guide was pretty smart and informative. He walked us to different parts of the building and gave basic lessons about the Fed and its duties and position on policies. However, later on we visited another tour guide and it’s safe to say that it was rather dull. After a long session with the second tour guide we were free for the night. Knowing we had to be up earlier than ever tomorrow,  it was time for a night of rest. So, after a long subway ride back to uptown, I got back into my room and relaxed a little before I decided to get some quick Chipotle for dinner and decide to call it a night.



Today was fun fun fun. We got up and went to the New York Stock Exchange. I loved it! It was exciting and fast paced and just everything I expected it to be. John was the Designated Market Maker (DMM) that spoke to us. He was nice and very interesting. We were standing behind the Bloomberg newscaster so we got to be in TV. I wore a bright pink sweater so I was very easy to pick out.  Next we went to the Fed. It was interesting. We got to see the Gold bars in the basement. The vault was huge and only accounted for a portion of the Gold that is kept there.


NYSE Floor
I met up with a friend that is here in New York. We went out to dinner. It was the first time I got to explore New York by myself. It was freezing! I liked being on my own. I liked being able to walk at my own pace and explore without regard to anyone else. But that feeling didn’t last long – I ended up meeting up with people from class, and we all went out for dessert.  Yum!

– Miriam

Day 2 of WDWS

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our second entry for Tuesday, 1/17/2012 comes from Darren Smith, Thomas Haggerty, Ben Plotke, & Alex Pirro.


bloomberg badge
Today we met up at around 7:30am to walk over to Bloomberg’s New York headquarters, which were just a few blocks away from where we’re staying.  Our tour guide began by explaining the transparent culture at Bloomberg, and pointed out that there were very few solid walls.  Most walls were glass, so anyone could see in as they passed by.  The first floor we visited was known as a “hub” floor, where all employees have to pass through to access the two floors above or below.  The hub floor also houses a cafeteria and a news set where some of the Bloomberg News anchors film their segments.  From there, we went down only one of three spiral escalators in the United States to the floor below and ended up right in front of where Charlie Rose films his talk show.  This floor housed all of the buy side analysts who work in teams and manage all clients east of Chicago, as well as over two hundred help desk support staff.  It was very interesting to see the people we interact with when we push the help button on the Bloomberg terminal.  The tour guide explained how the support staff helps us sort through some of the 30,000 functions that the terminal offers to find just the right ones to help accomplish what we need.Outside NBC Studios

Outside 30 Rockefeller CenterAfter leaving Bloomberg, we went back up to the hotel to change into street clothes and then headed down to Canal Street, which is famous for its “it looks real” merchandise.  Some members of our group were able to “legally” purchase some Louis Vuitton knock-offs.  It is quite the experience to have people walk up to you and ask if you want a watch or a purse and then list all of the designer bags that they have to offer.  We took the subway home only to find we had gotten off a stop too early, but it worked to our advantage.  While walking to “Rays Pizza”(recommended by a fellow student) for lunch, we stumbled upon Rockefeller center where several people were ice-skating.  Coming from California, an outdoor ice rink is quite the rarity.

The View from the Top

From there, we met back at the hotel and got ready again to go to Bernstein Wealth Management, regarded as one of the best research firms for financial information.  We went through security screening and continued up the elevator to the 47th floor, for many of us the tallest floor we had ever stood on.  The view of central park from the conference room we were lead into was amazing.  We met with Jim, a managing director, who laid out the groundwork for the company’s history, operations, as well as his career with the firm.  Afterwards, Chris Lee and Chris Filley, two Chapman alums who currently works at Bernstein, fielded a Q & A session which proved to be very informative.   We departed from Bernstein and returned to the hotel to relax and rest up, as it was the eve of the 21st birthday of one of our class members.  We went to the Japanese restaurant Kumo for sushi and cocktails.  We called it an early night, since we would be going to the NYSE at 10am the next morning.  Our first day of touring went well, and the class especially enjoyed the visit to AllianceBernstein.

– Darren, Thomas, Ben & Alex

Day 1 of WDWS 2012

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences in New York City.  Our first entry comes from Ryan Robinson, Matt Feldman, Harrison Maizels, and Alex Yu.

This morning we got up around 10:00am and headed down to the World Trade Center Memorial to meet up with Matt’s dad, Jeff, for the afternoon, so we hopped on the E Train with our 7-Day Subway passes.  Once we got out of the (very complicated) subway we headed in to the deli called Stage Door and got the local favorite, hot Corned-beef on rye bread (amazing).  We had some time to kill before our 2:00pm tickets at the WTC Memorial so we wandered around the Financial District and stumbled upon the last few stragglers of the #Occupy Movement in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street. Posing with a protestorAfter noticing there were only a few people protesting we asked some of the cops why there weren’t more protesters out there & we learned that just last week they’d all been kicked out for camping in the park for too long, and now they can only protest during the day at the park.  We started heading towards Wall Street to check out the NYSE, the Fed Building, Trump Towers and some of the shops in the area & it was pretty empty since it was a holiday so we went into Tiffany & Co. to see all of the jewelry we couldn’t afford (haha).  Next, we started our pursuit to find a public restroom which led us all the way to the World Financial Center and by then it was time to head into the World Trade Center Memorial where we met up with another group of guys from #WDWS12.

Visiting the site of Ground Zero was a very humbling experience and was the first time visiting the memorial for us all.  At the site of the foundations of where the two towers, there are now two of the largest man-made freestanding waterfalls in the world.

At the WTC MemorialFrom the WTC Memorial we went across the street to grab a drink at @BLTBarGrill with our big group to relax for a bit & watch the Nets & Clippers game.

At the BLT Barr and GrillNext stop of the evening was Starbucks & then we hopped back on the Subway to head back uptown to 81st for a stop into the Museum of Natural History where we watched the Big Bang movie about the formation of the Universe.  From there, we went upstairs to check out the Dinosaur exhibits where we found this little guy… the Bro King of the Jurassic times.  By the time we were done at the museum, it was already 7:00pm so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel to get some dinner & much needed rest for our first day of corporate visits tomorrow!

Jurassic Dinosaur Skeleton– Ryan, Matt and Harrison

I got up around 8 in the morning and headed toward Planet Hollywood to get my City Pass and breakfast.  After Breakfast, I hiked my way toward Empire State Building. I have to admit, I had trouble finding my bearings in New York so I did spend more time asking for direction than pretty much anything else. After about twenty minutes, I finally found Empire State Building.  Although the weather wasn’t viewing friendly but the view remained excellent.

Alex and the Statue of Liberty
After trekking to the Empire State Building, I wanted to visit Statue of Liberty.  I decided to take the subway instead of taking a taxi. It wasn’t my first time taking the subway,but it was my first time taking it in New York. Once again, it took me a while to find my bearing but eventually, I arrived at the pier. I must say, the view on the ferry to Lady Liberty was spectacular. On one end you get to see Liberty herself, and on the other end it’s New York Skyline. Overall, the trip was wonderful and eventful. I’m enjoying everything New York has to offer: the view, the weather, and its nightlife.

-Alex Yu

Here we go!

The final challenge is over before we get to NY: The Midterm! Sunday morning we leave for New York.

On our schedule this year are visits to: Bloomberg, AllianceBernstein, Bank of America, Citibank, NY Fed, NYSE, NASDAQ Opening Bell at the Marketsite, seminars on Investment Banking at the Stern School at NYU and meetings with hedge fund professionals.

Weather forecast is around 35o for the entire week, but no snow this year.

I am looking forward to a great week full of fun and finance under the city lights.  We will keep everyone updated with our adventures… Check back with us every day 🙂

Assistant Professor of Finance